Caribbean tourism ministers hold APD meeting at Westminster

Caribbean tourism ministers held a meeting in the House of Commons last week as part of the ongoing campaign against increases in Air Passenger Duty (APD).

The ministers from Jamaica, St Lucia, Bermuda, and Antigua and Barbuda attended the event, which was hosted by the Liberal Democrat MP for Brent East Sarah Teather.

It was also attended by Caribbean Council executive director David Jessop, Caribbean Tourism Organisation secretary-general Hugh Riley, and Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association director Alec Sanguinetti.

During the meeting, the ministers discussed the impact of the rises in APD, which were made at the beginning of this month with more planned for November 2010.

The meeting was another sign of how angry the industry is over the tax, which is regarded as unfair.

Jamaican minister for tourism Ed Bartlett said: “The Caribbean is more dependent on tourism than any other destination and the UK represents between 30% and 40% of the inbound tourism to the Anglophone Caribbean.

“The recession alone has contracted the flow from the UK by some 20% and APD is expected to further reduce that flow. The implications of these two developments will devastate the Caribbean economy and contribute greatly to the instability of the region.”

Teather added: “It was vital that British MPs heard from their counterparts in the Caribbean and I was pleased to host this meeting in Parliament.

“The Caribbean ministers emphasised that this unfair passenger tax will seriously damage their economy and will be disastrous for the many families in Brent who have links to the region.”

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